Trav Noonan’s All-Star Mile preview

Trav Noonan’s All-Star Mile preview

Saturday’s All-Star Mile 4 sets up as a beauty with a strong field engaged for the richest mile race in the world. Zaaki has drawn the widest of the field in barrier 15, while I’m Thunderstruck drew the inside marble of barrier one. On paper, both draws look quite sticky for the two stars and open up the race for some others to figure in the finish.

 

 

 

SPEED MAP

Tempo: Above Average

The late addition of Callsign Mav assures the race of a fast speed up front with Ben Allen no doubt looking to find the lead on the former Kiwi. Lightsaber will push forward with him from barrier 12 and likely sit outside the lead. Jamie Kah has options with Zaaki from the widest gate, but I think the most likely position for him is slotting across into the second or third pair just stalking the speed. Streets Of Avalon should hold the fence with Captivant and Lunar Fox also likely to press forward of midfield. Mr Brightside has proven he can run well tracking a fast speed early and Craig Williams here can either push forward like last start or be more conservative and sit midfield. Connections have indicated they want Tofane ridden off the speed in a bid to run the 1600m right out, so expect her to be midfield at best. Pinstriped, Cascadian, Inspirational Girl and Sierra Sue all likely get right back here given the number of horses wanting a spot forward of midfield. I’m Thunderstruck will be near the tail from barrier one with Jye McNeil having the option to ride for luck again or perhaps drop the big guy to last and try and circle the field.

MOST ADVANTAGED: Zaaki, Mr Brightside, Pinstriped, Cascadian

LEAST ADVANTAGED: Captivant, Lightsaber, I’m Thunderstruck

 

KEY RUNNERS

ZAAKI – Topsport $3.30

The clear top seed here given his 2021 form when he blazed through the Queensland winter with dominant wins in the Hollindale, Doomben Cup and Q22. He wasn’t at his absolute best in the spring with niggling injury issues, setbacks and firm tracks playing against him, but he still won two Group 1s in the spring including a great win here in the Mackinnon Stakes. His trials leading into this prep were outstanding and his first-up run in the Blamey Stakes at this course and distance was rock solid given the circumstances. Those circumstances being that he was held up at a key stage, had to carry 6kg more than the winner and wasn’t advantaged by a slowly run race. He is a high-pressure beast and given Saturday’s race should be run at a fast clip, that only enhances his chances. The draw is negated by the fact he will push forward and that Kah is the perfect rider for a horse of his front-running style. He deserves to be a clear favourite and expect plenty of market support for him on the day.

INSPIRATIONAL GIRL – Topsport $5.50

Has proven in her three runs in Victoria that she is high-class and at her most recent start was dynamic when winning the Blamey Stakes here, which is a key lead-up for this. She was given a 12/10 ride by Damian Lane that day and also was well treated under the set-weights-and-penalties conditions of the race having only carried 53kg, so she had things in her favour. A faster speed here though shouldn’t worry her and the step up to weight-for-age, while of some concern given she has to rise 4kg in weight, shouldn’t be a reason to dismiss her chances. If Zaaki runs up to his best she will need to rise to a new level but if he doesn’t then she is one of the key winning hopes, although she does seem short in the market at $5.50.

PINSTRIPED – Topsport $7

Clearly has the biggest X-Factor in the race being a lightly raced 3YO with plenty of untapped talent. His run in the Australian Guineas when fishing fifth was quite the eye catcher and given he had no luck in the straight, there’s a strong case to be made he should have at least figured in the placings. He went into that race on the back of a strong win here at 1400m in the C.S. Hayes Stakes and has proven he has a liking for this track. The Australian Guineas has also been a key lead-up to this race with the 3YOs who have competed in both races performing very well, with Mystic Journey winning in 2019, Superstorm running second in 2020 and Lunar Fox running fourth in 2021. This a much harder task though against the older horses and he needs to find another couple of lengths to win if Zaaki brings his best. He looks short in the market at $7 but his upside and X-factor profile mean he can’t be dismissed as a winning chance.

I’M THUNDERSTRUCK – Topsport $7.50

Wins in the Toorak Handicap and Golden Eagle during the spring of last year confirmed he would be a leading player in this race and that he is one of the best young talents in the country. His two runs back have been decent without being outstanding. The C.F. Orr Stakes was run at too slow a tempo for him to get into the race and he was lacking in fitness, so to run fifth, beaten by 3.25 lengths, was credible, while the Futurity Stakes was run on a track favouring those on speed and he was back near last and unable to build momentum at key stages after sticking to the inside. Again, he finished fifth and wasn’t given the chance to show his best. Now third-up at 1600m and out to the bigger track at Flemington he looks set to peak. The barrier draw though means he will need luck if they stick to the inside or he will have to circle the entire field which makes it tough. Given this he is another one who faces the task of producing a career-best performance to win.

TOFANE – Topsport $15

Four-time G1 winner who had things against second-up in the Futurity Stakes when posted wide on a day you wanted to be on the inside. Her win before that in the C.F. Orr Stakes was terrific when leading and I think her overall class means she can’t be dismissed here. 1600m is on her outer limit distance-wise but she did run I’m Thunderstruck to three-quarters of a length in the Toorak Handicap carrying 6kg more than him so it’s not as if she hasn’t performed to a high level at this distance. Has to be a great chance of figuring in the big end of the prizemoney.

 

MY MARKET TO 100 PER CENT:

1. I’M THUNDERSTRUCK – $13

2. ZAAKI – $2.70

3. CASCADIAN – $13

4. STREETS OF AVALON – $101

5. LUNAR FOX – $501

6. KING MAGNUS – $101

7. CALLSIGN MAV – $34

8. MR BRIGHTSIDE – $21

9. ICEBATH – $34

10. TOFANE – $13

11. SIERRA SUE – $21

12. INSPIRATIONAL GIRL – $8.50

13. CAPTIVANT – $51

14. LIGHSTABER – $34

15. PINSTRIPED – $13

 

BETTING STRATEGY

Zaaki looks the horse to beat and at $3 in early markets seems over the odds and very bankable at that quote. Tofane and Cascadian represent some value given the assessed prices against the market. Happy to be against I’m Thunderstruck at his price currently and have nearly marked him double his market price.

ZAAKI (WIN)

Flemington
19 Mar 2022
Good 4Rail Out 8m Entire Circuit